Thursday, September 28, 2017

Development Services Department September, 2017

Partnering with our community to build and maintain a safer San Antonio  | Sept. 2017

In This Issue

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Development Services Department

Mike Shannon, PE, CBO

Development  & 
Business Services Center

Main Address:
1901 S. Alamo San Antonio, TX 78204

Office Hours: 
7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday

Mailing Address:
PO Box 839966
San Antonio, TX 78283

FY 2018 City Budget Approved
On Sept. 14, 2017, City Council adopted the FY 2018 City of San Antonio Budget. The new budget will be effective on Oct. 1, 2017.

The Development Services Department's budget was approved for two new positions in the Land Development section - 1) Southern Edwards Plateau Manager and 1) Planning Coordinator for Neighborhood Conservation Districts. The department is pleased to share there will be no increased fees. Additionally, there are no reductions to the General Fund or Development Services Fund.

For more information regarding the Adopted FY 2018 budget, visit the Office of Management and Budget website.  

BuildSA Brief

Have you been wondering about the status of BuildSA? Perhaps, you've been waiting for information on an estimated launch date? Well, we have updates and information to share with you.

The latest and most important event that occurred is that the City made a decision to partner with a different software integrator. After experiencing several project delays, the City decided it was time to take a different approach to effectively complete the installation of Accela Software. We are pleased to share that plans are well underway and work is in progress with a new vendor, GCOM Software Inc. (GCOM).  Our new vendor will complete the implementation of the Accela Software for Land Development.

GCOM is not new to our project.  They were a subcontractor on BuildSA last year, working closely with us on data migration and integration. GCOM is the largest Accela Certified Partner and holds extensive experience in the implementation of business processes and systems.

Land Development
An anticipated launch date for Land Development, Functional Group 1, is the fall of 2018.

Building Development and Code Enforcement
The City is issuing a solicitation for implementation services for Functional Groups 2 and 3, Building Development and Code Enforcement in December 2017.  Functional Groups 2 and 3 will now be known as Phase 2 of the project.

Watch for future newsletters to bring you more updates and information on BuildSA. 

Tree Discussions and H.B. 7 News

Tree Discussion Meeting at DSD
On Tuesday, September 12, the Development Services Department (DSD) hosted its second Tree Discussion meeting with stakeholders and customers. At the meeting, City Arborist Mark Bird reviewed the outcome of the recently completed Special Session of the Texas Legislature, previous topics from the first Tree Discussion meeting plus current topics of interest related to DSD processes for implementation of the tree and landscape ordinances.

The House of Representatives and the Senate passed H.B. 7 in the 2017 regular legislative session; however, Governor Abbott vetoed the bill. During the Special Session, a modified version of the bill was passed and signed into law. The bill will go into effect Dec. 1, 2017.

The bill should have no impacts to the current or past tree ordinances since the San Antonio tree ordinance does not apply to existing residential one-family or two-family dwellings.  That is, no permits or coordination with the City are required by owners to remove a tree on a residential property (when construction is complete).  In addition, the 100% credit for mitigation tree planting offered by the City is above what is granted by H.B. 7 (50% for residential and 40% commercial).

Additional topics covered at the tree discussion meeting were the latest on tree notes that identify master tree permits and tree save areas on plats, a Plat Note Committee update, and Information Bulletins related to Root Protection Zone and Tree Applications for Geotechnical site work.

To learn more about the City of San Antonio's tree preservation policies, visit our website

Online Resources

The latest Rule Interpretation (RID) and Information Bulletins (IB) are provided below:  

DSD developed this revised IB to describe the process and the minimum requirements for permitting uncovered residential decks. The bulletin has been revised to clarify permitting, document submittals, and inspection requirements. This will help ensure that your deck is built per code and passes the applicable building inspections.

IB 564 - Garage and Setbacks and Resolving Violations, posted 9/12/17
IB 564 provides customers clarification on measuring setbacks for front entry garages and carports, the department policy on current carports constructed within setbacks, and, if determined to be in violation, how to resolve setback violations. Note: this IB replaces IB 158 and IB 515. 

IB 565 - Evolution of Setbacks for Primary and Accessory Structures - 1938 to present, posted 9/12/17
This IB provides DSD staff with a central repository for all applicable setbacks for different types of structures as well as the evolution of setbacks from 1938 to the present. This will provide clear development standards applicable at the time a given structure was built. Structures built in accordance with the approved setbacks at that time, but are no longer compliant with current standards, are now nonconforming structures subject to Section 35-707.

This RID is intended to provide clarification on the use of collectors or arterial streets to meet secondary access and other sections of the Unified Development Code (UDC) related to street network and hierarchy requirements. Overall this RID clarifies 3 more basic concepts: Honor Master Development Plan (phase development) related to secondary access and phase construction of collectors and arterials; maximum number of units on dead-end collectors to be 500 units, but overall developments in the ETJ cannot exceed 1000 units without secondary access per fire marshal; and developments having collectors not for secondary access purposes should extend them based on capacity needs.

RID 2017-006 Building Setback Lines, posted 9/12/17
The intent of this RID provides clarification for customers and staff on the interpretation of Chapter 35 of the City Code of San Antonio, the UDC, as it relates to the enforcement of Building Setback Lines (setbacks) placed on subdivision plats recorded prior to Dec. 2, 2002. 

RID 2017-007 Secondary/Additional Access, posted 9/11/17
This RID clarifies the issue with developments having less than 400 feet of frontage and claiming secondary access did not apply. The UDC clearly requires secondary access based on number of units built, not based on frontage. 

For a complete list of resources, visit the following sites:  

Performance Measures - FY 2017

The complete Performance Measures report is available online.

Permit Activity


Other Department News
- Customer Comments, New Hires, Recognition and more

Here's what you said about us...

Al Niebruegge,  Sr. Building Inspector, Field Services
I have worked with Al for over a decade and he has always been very responsive. He has a gift with solving issues and communicating a quick and effective path to resolution.

Dania Aji, Plans Coordinator, Plan Review
Dania was a pleasure to work with. She provided exceptional service to the engineer and the property owner. She is a wonderful representation of how all interactions with the City should be. I want to make sure she is recognized for her hard work and great customer service.

Kayla Leal, Planner, and Mariano Martino, Engineer, Land Development
I first met Mariano a few years ago, and he has always been helpful. After I contacted him, he quickly determined that Kayla was the zoning case manager, and he copied her on the response back to me. Kayla also sent me an email right away, offering her assistance; she responded quickly to my questions and provided any relative data on the case. While I did not interact with Kayla in person, she was friendly and courteous in her email responses, and asked me to let her know if she could assist with anything else. I thought the courtesy, speed of response and professionalism was unexpected and worthy of mention to their supervisors.

Mark Celestino, Sr. Development Services Specialist, Plan Review
I have been working with Mark Celestino and his associates for many years on numerous City of San Antonio projects, but the service and attention to detail I have received from Mark is exceptional and so appreciated. He knows your procedures and will inform you if there is an issue with the project, and he can always be reached by either email or by phone.

Judy Croom, Administrative Assistant, Building Standards Board, Field Services
Out of all the people I have talked to from the city she is by far the FASTEST to respond and handle my issues.  She was very nice and informative, and truly seemed to care about taking care of my issues. Excellent !!!!

Kimberly Hopkins, Planner, Land Development
This was my first experience with contacting your office regarding my special challenge (Addressing). I do appreciate the promptness and particularly the follow-up. I was communicated with on a timely basis and I am satisfied with the professionalism of Kimberley Hopkins. Job well done.


Congratulations to our DSD employees who received the following certifications: 

New Hires



Job Opportunities

Development Services is recruiting for the following positions.  To learn more, or apply online, visit the DSD jobs at the City of San Antonio Career Center.


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City of San Antonio, Development Services, 1901 S. Alamo, San Antonio, TX 78204

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